I’m really tired of the image of connections around the earth being used to promote games that can’t make them.

Dear Sega, Sega-AM2, Ryu ga Gotoku Studio, and anybody else whom it may concern:

Here is what it’s like to play Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown online right now.


Back when I was a teen and the Internet was less reliable, I used to read Animerica magazine to find out what was going on in Japanese anime, both here and across the ocean in Japan.

I specifically recall the very long title at the top of the Japanese sales charts, Shishunki Bishoujo Gattai Robo Z-Mind: The Battling Days Of The “Shitamachi” Virgins. Sounded kinda dirty, honestly. It made a bit more sense to find out that Z-Mind was actually a super robot OVA (original video animation) from Sunrise. …


When I started on Glass Mask I remarked on Twitter that I was about to begin on a “good old fashioned telenovela”. In American terms, a soap opera. Where do you draw the line between an ordinary melodrama and a soap? As an observer, I have come to conclude that “soap” is a grade of melodrama. It’s a level of intensity.

(As such, here is your trigger warning. A young teen character endures emotional, psychological and physical abuse, as well as some age-inappropriate romantic attention)

It is one thing for a passionate 13-year-old heroine to work her butt off…


If you were on games social media recently, you might have noticed that the announcement of Melty Blood: Type-Lumina got a lot of old fighting game players very excited. I was just about jumping out of my seat for joy.

But what the hell is Melty Blood? Isn’t that the game from the hotel bathroom jokes? What makes this particular game so formative for so many people? As a member of the Melty Blood generation, I’m glad you asked.

Back in 2002, I was in anime club at an engineering school. Aided by a school-provided laptop and an educational-grade…


Sega Toys, 2020 ($140)

Nobody has put quite so much into the recent “mini-console” trend as Sega. Nintendo certainly started the resurgence with its replicas, but the Genesis/Mega Drive Mini went a step further with obsessive attention to hardware detail and a quirky curated list of games that revealed hidden gems as well as established favorites.

Pardon my dust, this is how the photo came out *after* dusting thoroughly. Iphone camera picks up everything.

The ideas have only gotten stranger and more passionate since then. The Game Gear Micro, which shrinks Sega’s handheld to a toy small enough to fit in a wallet, is a singular and bizarre novelty. …


2020 sucked in every way, and I have had nothing but time during the lockdown. I bought a small mountain of Blu-Rays, mostly anime and tokusatsu series, that I haven’t even come close to making a dent in. One thing that was completely out for me was tragic or even gritty fiction. Japan Sinks 2020? Shit, no, that can wait for 2030. What I needed was comedy, and the dumber the better.

You ever think about forgotten moe franchises of years gone by? Like Love Hina, Digi Charat, or Saber Marionette. Series like these are of their own very specific…


I’m the kind of Sega lover who buys silly merchandise like polygon-accurate Virtua Fighter action figures and scale model kits of the Astro City arcade cabinet. After all, we love Sega for selling quirky products. Even so, the Game Gear Micro was still a bridge too far for me when I first read about it.

Promotional images use hands for a reason: the Micro is just that small

It’s kind of crazy, right? $50 to play four Game Gear games on a screen the size of a postage stamp, on a toy the size of a key chain. Did I mention there are long, text-heavy Japanese RPGs on all of these units? It…


Real Talk 2020: Things are rough for everyone right now. As a remote-working freelancer I’ve already started to lose work, so I’ve been keeping myself busy with personal projects like bringing dead freelance pitches back to life. If you enjoy this piece I’d greatly appreciate a tip on my ko-fi, if you can manage it.

Part OnePart TwoPart Three

At the risk of becoming long-winded, I think this piece needs an appendix. I am a TG16, kid but I’d like to talk about the Mini in ways that have nothing to do with any kind of…


I used to get Turbo Play magazine in the mail. It was apparent even to a child how the ads got increasingly desperate. First you got two free games, and by the end you got five.

Part OnePart TwoPart Three

Real Talk 2020: Things are rough for everyone right now. As a remote-working freelancer I’ve already started to lose work, so I’ve been keeping myself busy with personal projects like bringing dead freelance pitches back to life. If you enjoy this piece I’d greatly appreciate a tip on my ko-fi, if you can manage it.

Here’s the second part of “I Was A Turbo-Grafx 16 Kid,” my review of the PC Engine Mini/Turbo-Grafx 16 Mini, where I talk about a couple of the games of my youth.

Like I said, I loved…


The TG16 Mini actually features a recreation of the image on the left of the original box, using the Mini instead. The “I AM HAVING FUN” dude is sadly absent.

Real Talk 2020: Things are rough for everyone right now. As a remote-working freelancer I’ve already started to lose work, so I’ve been keeping myself busy with personal projects like bringing dead freelance pitches back to life. If you enjoy this piece I’d greatly appreciate a tip on my ko-fi, if you can manage it.

Part OnePart TwoPart Three

David Cabrera

Sooolar wind. Anime/games writer. Sometimes on @polygon? @Kawaiikochans is the sum of my efforts. Serious about stupid.

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